Natalia walks away, still wearing Jay’s jacket, and he watches her, captivated.
The Palm Palace Shisha Bar in Guilford is extremely busy, with every seat out front filled with people, most seeming of Middle-Eastern descent, smoking shisha pipes.
A taxi parks on the opposite side of the street from the bar and, a moment later, drives off to reveal Jay. He scans the bar intently for almost a minute, before he walks across the street towards the bar.
He steps into the bar/restaurant, and stops at the doorway to scan through the people in the bar. He scans almost the entirety of the bar before he sees a man in his mid thirties, who’s more pretty than handsome with deep blue eyes and long flowing blonde hair, sitting alone at a table in the corner of the large room. Their eyes meet and there is recognition in their stare.
Jay walks to the man, and sits on the empty chair opposite him.
‘Robert,’ Jay says to the man – more a statement, not a question.
‘Captain,’ Robert replies, and nods.
‘No small talk?’ Robert asks with a smirk, and takes a sip from his pint of Guinness.
Jay doesn’t respond; he just stares stoically at Robert.
‘Okay. I ordered us shawarmas though.’
‘You tried one before?’
Again, Jay doesn’t respond, although he almost cracked a smile. He’s been studying Robert intently and he’s amused by the height of Robert’s vanity – Robert’s nails are freshly manicured, no strand of his long blonde hair is out of place, eyebrows appear tweezed, teeth are perfect and white, his outfit is tailored and colour coordinated with a penchant for royal blue, he’s adorned with opulent gold jewellery, and doused in a subtly strong perfume. To be fair to the man, without question, he has immaculate taste.
‘Shawarmas are amazing. You really should try it. Fuck kebabs,’ Robert declares, and chuckles. ‘I got you the chicken. I’m having the lamb. It’s my favourite, but I find most people prefer the chicken.’
Jay leans back into his chair as he fights to hold back a smile.
‘Okay, okay, details,’ Robert says, and Jay leans forward. ‘Cameron is being protected …’
‘Cameron’s the target?’
‘Target … I like that. Yes, Cameron, the target, is being protected by the Met at a safe house in Croydon …’
A waitress arrives at the table with two plates of shawarmas.
‘Lamb’s mine, chicken’s his,’ Robert says to the waitress.
She nods and places the plates of shawarmas in front of them as instructed.
‘Want a drink with that?’ Robert asks Jay.
Jay shakes his head.
‘Okay,’ he says to Jay, and turns to the waitress with a soft smile. ‘Thank you.’
She smiles back and walks away.
He gestures to the scrumptious-looking chicken shawarma. ‘Smells good doesn’t it?’ he asks.
Jay doesn’t respond, although he is somewhat impressed by Robert’s persistence.
‘You are going to regret this tomorrow if you don’t at least give it a try.’
Robert shrugs and asks, ‘Mind if I eat?’
Robert commences to eat as he talks, although he effortlessly manages never to talk with food in his mouth.
‘Where was I?’ he asks.
‘Safe house in Croydon. You have any pictures?’
‘Of the safe house. Of Cameron. Do you know the amount of Met officers protecting him?’
Robert laughs softly for a long moment.
‘I don’t know how many Met officers,’ he says. ‘I don’t have a picture of the house. But I do have the address. And I do have a picture of Cameron.’
Robert pulls out an iPhone from his jacket and works on it for a moment. He turns the phone around for Jay to see a zoomed-in image of a happy-looking beautiful woman in her late twenties, affectionately carrying an equally happy male toddler – her son. There is an arm around her and the toddler from a man who is cropped out of the frame by the zoom.
‘That is Cameron,’ Robert says. ‘For all intents and purposes … HER. We’ll pay you half a million to kill her and everyone in the safe house, BUT the boy. I want the boy … well, not me per say.’
Jay stands and calmly says, ‘No.’
‘What?’ Robert blurts out. ‘Sit down!’
‘What? I can’t let you do that,’ Robert says angrily. ‘You’ve seen my face. You know what I’m about.’
‘You’ve seen mine, and you know, for all intents and purposes, I am a serial killer.’
Those words immediately cool Robert’s erupting anger and he leans back into his chair, powerless as he watches Jay walk away.
Jay stops midway to the restaurant’s door and walks back to Robert.
‘Your man in the brown leather jacket,’ Jay says, and gestures across the room.
A large white man wearing a brown leather jacket, sat alone at a table a short distance away with a glass of water in front of him, quickly looks away from them.
‘If he follows me,’ Jay continues. ‘I’ll kill him, and then I’ll come back for you.’
Robert remains silent, seething.
Jay nods at Robert, and walks away, out of the restaurant, and out of sight.
Robert bangs his fists on the table in an eruption of anger.